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Windows 2003 - SQL server does not exist or access denied

Just wanted to share a solution I found to this common problem that I
have not yet seen posted.

I am in the process of migrating an application from NT/IIS 4.0/SQL 6.5
to Win2003.

The SQL server and ASP web application are on separate servers in an NT
domain. While migrating the web app to a Windows 2003 server (which is
not in the domain), I was unable to connect to the database via ODBC
using named pipes.

The error I recieved was the infamous 'SQL server does not exist or
access denied' -- far be it from Microsoft be more specific in their
error messages.

The trouble was, that every other console application and web server
except for my 2003 server was able to connect to the DB. Also, I was
able to test my DSN and do a successful ODBC ping on the 2003 server.

After pouring over dozens of articles in the MS knowledge base as well
as the usenet, I finally decided to do a packet trace on the difference
between the successful communicaitons and the failed ones.

Turns out that when you are using the ODBC utilities from the console
on the 2003 server, it passes the user credentials (which are needed
with named pipes) of whoever is logged in at the moment, while the IIS
server uses the IUSR_Computername local account to authenticate the SMB
session for the ODBC connection. Since my administrator accounts on
both servers had the same passwords, it was working in the console just

Since the new server was not part of the domain, the connection was
being refused from the IIS point of view. All I had to do was to go to
the properties of my web site in the 2003 server and change the
'Anonymous Access' user account from IUSR_Computername to an account
that had permissions on the old domain. This resolved my issue.

Just thought I would share. Also, once I put the sniffer on the
network, it took me 5 mins to determine what the problem was, after a
half-day of trial and error.

You can download a free sniffer at www.ethereal.com

Good luck.


Jul 23 '05 #1
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